Political Hedgehogs: The Geographical Sorting of Refugees in Sweden

Reprint No. 2020:86

Author(s): Johan Wennström and Özge ÖnerYear: 2020 Title: Statsvetenskaplig tidskrift Volume (No.): 122 (4) Pages: 671–685
Preliminary version

Political Hedgehogs: The Geographical Sorting of Refugees in Sweden Johan Wennström and Özge Öner

In sharp contrast to how admitted refugees are being placed in comparable European countries, refugees in Sweden have been disproportionately placed in peripheral and rural areas with high unemployment and rapid native depopulation where the prospects for integration, both socially and economically, are poor. We explore and evaluate some potential reasons for this outcome. Factors such as an intimidating political and intellectual climate in favor of receiving large numbers of asylum seekers and immigrants and the economic support given by the central government to municipalities that accept refugees are not sufficient to understand the actions of rural local governments. Instead, we argue that Tetlock’s fox/hedge-hog model of predictive style may provide a useful approach for understanding the seemingly irrational actions of local politicians in rural and peripheral municipali-ties, and of other policymakers in other similar situations.

Wennström, Johan and Özge Öner (2020), "Political Hedgehogs: The Geographical Sorting of Refugees in Sweden". Statsvetenskaplig tidskrift 122(4), 671–685.

Johan Wennström


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Özge Öner


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Interdisciplinary European Studies

The European Union and the Return of the Nation State


This book explores the complex and ever-changing relationship between the European Union and its member states. The recent surge in tension in this relationship has been prompted by the actions of some member state governments as they question fundamental EU values and principles and refuse to implement common decisions seemingly on the basis of narrowly defined national interests.

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